• Watsu study with Orphans

    Posted by Basia Szpak-Borst April 20, 2015 - 2,255 views - 0 comments - 0 likes - #watsu  #watsu instructor  #children  #watsu orphans study  #watsu study 
    Orphanages of the Special Childcare Services of Komárom Esztergom County
    Komárom, Hungary, Csillag ltp. 62
    Attention: Roland Farkas

    Subject: Experiences of the Watsu® program

    The Watsu® program was carried out with the participation of the residents of the Orphanages (no.8 and 11) of the Special Childcare Services of Komárom Esztergom County in Komárom, Hungary, Csillag ltp. 62. The children participated on a volunteer basis, no selection was made, and no preliminary criteria were defined. The criteria for the sessions and the evaluation were not specified, therefore this paper is not suitable for scientific purposes but only for empirical information gathering.

    With regard to the shortness of the series of sessions I defined a minimum of 4 received sessions as criteria to be included in the evaluation. Because of the short period I chose to observe changes that would be welcome and necessary for the children – as I know them by explorations and anamnesis. I also chose parameters that had more likelihood to change over time.

    The followed parameters were:
    - changes in the general health conditions
    - changes in behavior or conduct
    - changes in tolerance
    - changes in movement coordination

    Tools and methods used to evaluate changes:
    - exploration
    - making anamnesis
    - evaluation of existing health related information
    - gathering the experiences of educators and pedagogues (survey)

    The number of sessions received, for the children under evaluation, is between four and seven. The evaluation of the sessions was made in a circle of 14 children. The children in the study are between 6 and 14 years old. Two evaluation groups could be formed, one group of nursery school and another of primary school pupils. The primary school group has been subdivided into two - although groups of small numbers can have distorting effects - one subgroup of pupils in schools with normal educational content and another for pupils in schools with special educational content.

    1. Nursery school pupils:
    4 persons:
    # of Persons
    Ages 3 6 years
    1 7 years

    2. Primary school pupils:
    10 persons: School Level # of
    Persons Ages / Grade Levels
    Specialized primary
    school 2 13 & 14 years old / 6th & 7th grade
    (Note: In Hungary, these grades are for ages 12-13)
    Mainstream primary
    school 8
    1 - 7 years old; 3 - 9 years; 2 - 10 years; 1 - 12 years; 1 - 13
    years /
    2 - 1st grade; 4 - 3rd grade; 1 - 5th grade; 1 - 6th grade
    Chart 1: Age and school grades

    3. General health conditions:
    out of 14 persons total:
    • needing regular medical care: 0 persons
    • not under regular medical care: 10 persons
    • used to be under regular medical
    care but are not at present: 4 persons

    4. Changes noticed in the general health conditions:
    out of 14 persons total:
    4A. No changes noticed: 14 persons
    4B. Changes noticed: 0 persons short-term; 0 persons long-term
    Short-term, the day of the session: 0 persons
    Short-term, for 1-2 days: 0 persons
    Longer-term, one week: 0 persons
    Longer-term, several weeks: 0 persons
    As shown, no positive changes were recorded in the general health conditions.

    5. General changes in behavior and conduct: (also see Chart 2)
    5A. No changes noticed total: 4 persons
    5B. Changes noticed total: 10 persons
    Short-term changes noticed total: 7 persons
    • Short-term changes noticed the day of session: 1 person
    • Short-term changes noticed for 1-2 days: 6 persons
    Longer-term changes noticed total: 3 persons
    • Longer-term changes noticed for one week: 0 persons
    • Longer-term changes noticed for several weeks: 3 persons

    In the development of someones behavior, the model met during socialization plays an important role. A behavior developed upon an eventual negative model is in most cases already fixed for an important part by the time one enters the orphanage. The alteration of the fixed behavioral patterns is a long process and needs a positive model that represents a value and is desired by the follower. The calm and balanced atmosphere ensured by the Watsuers during Watsu® sessions, the one person-one person focus, the comfort of touch, and the decrease in anxiety and stress all help the appearance of the need for change and promote its realization. The need alone is not enough but there is no change
    without it. The strengthening of the positive changes occurred is essential to consolidate the change, but this is already a part of the educational process itself.
    Chart 2: Changes in behavior during Watsu® program

    6. Changes noticed in tolerance with others: (their mates, adults) (also see Chart 3)
    6A. No changes noticed total: 6 persons
    6B. Changes noticed total: 8 persons
    Short-term changes noticed total: 6 persons
    • Short-term changes noticed the day of the session: 0 persons
    • Short-term changes noticed for 1-2 days: 6 persons
    Longer-term changes noticed total: 2 persons
    • Longer-term changes noticed 1 week: 1 person
    • Longer-term changes noticed several weeks: 1 person
    We can feel many times that with the change in behavior, one becomes more tolerant towards her
    or his environment. She or he fits more in the community. This outsider experience or observation
    can often mean superficial changes only, but can be the first step in a starting process. Formation of
    tolerant behavior could be proved only with further complex and sophisticated studies.
    Chart 3: Changes in tolerance during Watsu® program

    7. Changes in movement coordination: (Also see Chart 4)
    7A. No changes noticed total: 9 persons
    7B. Changes noticed total: 5 persons
    Short-term changes noticed total: 1 person
    • Short-term changes noticed the day of the session: 0 persons
    • Short-term changes noticed for 1-2 days: 1 person
    Longer-term changes noticed total: 4 persons
    • Longer-term changes noticed for one week: 0 persons
    • Longer-term changes noticed for several weeks: 4 persons
    Changes in movement coordination were evaluated upon the experiences and observations of the
    Chart 4: Changes in movement coordination during Watsu® program

    8. Persistency of changes:
    With regard to the fact that the time used for sessions was not long, the word persistency could be misleading in connection with the changes achieved. As presented earlier, the persistency of changes covers only a few weeks. Meanwhile, these weeks can serve as a base for the persistency of the changes long-term and may result in their consolidation. One thing is certain: the most important result was recorded in the nursery school group. A significant change occurred for each nursery school pupil. One also showed positive changes in general behavior, tolerance and movement coordination.
    Chart 5: All changes during Watsu® program
    Chart 6: Changes during Watsu® program, in %
    Another noteworthy case is a nursery school pupil who earlier was not willing to speak in the nursery school, nor with strangers. This pupil became more open, freer in this area; the pupil’s communication skills showed great progress. This child presented a poem at the Christmas celebration of the Orphanage.

    One child, who was not accepting even to be touched at the beginning of the program, gradually familiarized with the method of accept the help of the Watsu® therapist. Initially, this child could not totally surrender , but after receiving Watsu®, categorical refusal disappeared.

    In both of the above cases, we can speak of an important decrease in anxiety, a change in social adaptational capabilities that are not yet at skill level, are not permanent and are extremely fragile.

    There is an explanation for the minimal and mostly short-term changes of the pupils attending primary schools with special content: It is their age. They are 13 and 14 years old and in this age range changes are slower to happen due to pre-established habits, earlier patterns and resistance.

    Nevertheless, the short-term changes show their receptiveness and positive changes are anticipated if sessions are given on a longer term.

    The data presented on Chart 7. shows the persistency of changes observed. The evaluation of its content can strictly be carried out with regard to the number of children observed. A persistent change in movement coordination of the pupils in primary schools with special educational content can be observed in 50% of this category, but this means a persistent change of only 1 pupil. In the case of the other 50% - that is, the other pupil, a positive change in the tolerance could be observed, but only on short term.

    In 87.5% of the pupils in primary schools with mainstream educational content, no changes were recorded, but it must be noted that the mental and somatic disorders are minors in their category, so eventual changes are slower to happen.
    Chart 7: Persistency of changes

    In conclusion: positive and very welcome changes could be observed in some of the pupils participating in the Watsu® program. These changes are mostly due to the Watsu® technique and the preparedness and approach of the Watsuers committed to the Watsu® program.

    The continuation of the program is by all means desirable to consolidate long-term changes and to transform short-term changes to long-term. Hopefully, the program might be based on a scientific approach later, research criteria could be set and conclusions drawn for the program.

    Komárom, 26th January 2009
    Sincerely, Mr. Pál Forgó
    Clinical and Mental-hygienic Specialist Psychologist
    Translated by Roland Farkas
    Coordinator, Watsu® Orphans Hungary
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    Evaluation of the Watsu® program page 8 of 8





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